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Development of Japanese Sociology and Its Asian Connection

Shigeto Sonoda Professor of Sociology, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia and Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, the University of Tokyo

Introduction In 2010, University of Tokyo Press published a book Shakaigaku no Rekishi (History of Sociology), written by Prof. Tomoyuki Okui of Asia University in Japan. Advertisements of this book stress that this book is an “orthodox textbook of sociological history” as well as “good introduction to sociology.” Reading this book, we can find that 12 chapters which constitute the whole book refer to Western sociologists including August Comte, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Sigmund Freud, Georg Simmel, Èmile Durkheim, Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton, Alfred Shutz, Harold Garfinkel, Ervin Goffman, Jügen Habermas, Niklas Luhmann, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Zygmunt Bauman with some Japanese sociologists including Yasuda Takada, Eitarô Suzuki, and Ikutarô Shimizu. Such a combination, that is, European classical sociologists, Euro-American contemporary sociologists and a few Japanese sociologists, has been common very among orthodox textbooks of history of sociology ever published in Japan (Atoji and Naitô, 1957; Shinmei, 1977=2007)1. No names of Asian sociologists except Japanese ones are mentioned in these textbooks. Some huge books on the history of Japanese sociology have been published by old generations of Japanese sociologists (Kawamura, 1973-5; Akimoto, 1979; Kawai, 2003; Tominaga, 2004), but none of them refer to Asian studies by Japanese sociologists. To simply put, Japanese sociology seems to have had no meaningful and fruitful connection with Asian sociologists or Asian studies. But is it really so? Did more than 130 years’ history of the development of Japanese sociology have no connection with Asian sociologists or Asian
As far as I know, sociological textbooks in Asia share the same characteristics as the Japanese ones in the sense that they contain a lot of Euro-American sociologists’ names and their theories, key concepts, and contributions with a few local sociologists, which will mislead their readers to think that Asian sociologies or sociologists are minor being, not to say meaningless.
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and digestion of the Western sociological theories.” Empirical sociological studies. Nozomu Kawaruma. Explanation about his works will be explained later in this paper. from 1946 to 1947 after the WWII. attitudes of the Japanese sociologists to the “universality” of the Western sociological theories or concepts but also by the empirical studies on Asia. Toda used to be a director of Institute of Oriental Culture (now Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia). which tried to highlight the Teizô Toda 戸田貞三(1887-1955) is a famous sociologist of family who taught at the Department of Sociology at Tokyo Imperial University. Dr. almost all the unique findings of Japanese society were concentrated from 1920s to 1940s. University of Tokyo. and these theoretical studies were conducted under the name of “Futsû Shakaigaku (General Sociology)” or “Keishiki Shakaigaku (Formal Sociology). started from 1920s. Discovery of “uniqueness of Japanese society” and its conceptualization was promoted not only by the skeptical. no sociologists could find the post in the Institute before my appointment in 2009. roughly later than the beginning of introduction of sociology by half a century. We should remember that their academic activities were not merely empirically oriented but attempted to attain the “localization of sociology. on the other hand. introduction. were heavily concentrated on the acceptance. 3 Eitarô Suzuki 鈴木栄太郎(1894-1966) is a well-known rural/urban sociologist who taught at the Department of Sociology at Keijô Imperial University and Hokkaido University. 2 . if not denial. In fact. 1993).studies? This paper tries to have a brief overview of the history of Japanese sociology in connection with Asia. Such attitudes. expert on the history of sociological theories in Japan. summarizes that their attempts “represented their attitudes to construct uniquely Japanese sociology which tries to study everyday life of the people in Japan by excluding speculative discussion on the principles and methods of sociology in advanced countries” (Kawamura. in my view. Since his retirement from the Institute. Most of sociological inquiries at that time. It is since 1920s onward that field researches in Japan have come to be conducted by Japanese sociologists like Teizô Toda2and Eitarô Suzuki3. Emergence of Empirical Sociology and the Discovery of “Japanese-ness” The beginning of history of Japanese sociology can be traced back to 1880s. 1. however.” Toda and Suzuki conducted their researches under the supposition that Western concepts and theories could not be easily applied to the reality of Japan (Sonoda. 1975:28). contributed to the “discovery” of characteristics of Japanese society which is too common an activity in contemporary Japan.

the University of Tokyo. Representative examples are Morimitsu Shimizu’s 4 Shina Shakai no Kenkyû (Study on Chinese Society: 1939) and Shina Kazoku no Kôzô (Structure of Chinese Family. 4 . After two years since this publication. Institute of Humanities in Kyoto University.“uniqueness of Japanese society” in comparison with other Asian societies. His publication includes Kainantô Reizoku no Kenkyû (Studies on Li Tribe in Hainan Island. and Komazawa University. Eitarô Suzuki and His Korean Study In 1940. hereafter abbreviated as Genri). Taiwan or China to conduct empirical researches of village life and family under the expansion of Japanese militarism and colonialism. 1942) which describes family life and its characteristics of Taiwanese aborigine. Prof. 1939). 6 Tatsumi Makino 牧野巽 (1905-1974) is a sociologist with special interest in China who served for Tôhô Bunka Gakuin (東方文化学院 Academy of Oriental Culture). Tokyo Normal College (now Tsukuba University). His publication includes Shina Shakai no Kôzô (Structure of Chinese Society. Chugoku Zokusan Seido-kô (Treatises on Clan Property in China. Eitarô Suzuki published Nihon Nôson Shakaigaku Genri (Principle of Japanese Rural Sociology. Yuzuru Okada’s5 Mikai Shakai niokeru Kazoku (Family in Primitive Society. His publication includes Makino Tatsumi Sakuhin-shû (Collected Volumes of Tatsumi Makino’s Writings 7 vol.. 1944). All of these monographs were not written by using original empirical data nor were they discussing Japanese society in comparative perspectives. 1953). many sociologists were mobilized to Asian studies and some of them went to Korea. 5 Yuzuru Okada 岡田謙 (1906-1969) is a sociologist and social anthropologist who stayed Taiwan for twelve years and studied Taiwanese aborigine. From late 1930s to early 1940s. The reason of Suzuki’s acceptance of the appointment to go to Keijô (now the city of Seoul) was not known. and Waseda University. which became one of the classical works of Japanese sociology. 1975). 1942). 1949). Suzuki went to Korean Peninsula to take up a new post of Department of Sociology in Keijô Imperial University in the spring of 1942. His researches on family contributed to the development of sociology of family. 1944). Osaka University. and Tatsumi Makino’s6 Shina Kazoku Kenkyû (Study on Chinese Family. Kwansei Gakuin University. but it seems that he went there due to his strong interest in comparative study of Japanese villages and Korean villages as suggested by his own remarks in Genri (1940:12) and his own statement that “I Morimitsu Shimizu 清水盛光 (1904-1999) is a sociologist who used to serve for Mantetsu Chosabu (満鉄調査部 Research Department of Sothern Manchuria Railway Company). Kazoku (Family. 1973). But they similarly deepened understanding of Japanese society and promoted the development of Japanese sociology. and Shûdan no Ippan Riron (General Theory of Social Groups.

Both administrative units are the same in the sense that their "social cohesiveness" is still strong. Kinship groups in Korea are widely spread and have larger social function than those in Japan. symbol of unification of natural village.Table 1 Comparative Analysis of Rural Social Groups in Korea and Japan by Eitarô Suzuki Characteristics Shizen-son (自然村 natural village) in Japan is equivalent to former dongli (동리) in late Choson Dynasty which is the lowest administrative unit. Gye (계) in Korea is more varied. Water rights groups in Japan are important units of local governance while they are not necessary so in Korea. Pumasshi (품앗이 mutual help among villagers) in Korea is more temporal and short term than yui (結) in Japan. Most of the Japanese villagers are believer of Buddhism. Criteria of Comparison Administrative Groups Worship Groups Religious Groups Mutual Help Groups Neighboring Groups Economic Groups and Cooperative Organization Kinship Groups Special Interest Groups Self-governing Groups Bureaucratic Groups Source: Sonoda (1993: 18) . while god in Korea is familial /ansestral god. Bureaucratic groups in Korea are weaker and less effective than Japanese ones. Social integration at county (gun 群 군) level is stronger in Korea. and less religious and entertainment oriented than Japanese kô (講) Cumulative integration of social relations is witnessed among small communities in national village in Japan while no such trend can be witnessed in Korea where natural village is roughly equal to neighboring groups. In Japan kami (神 god) represents ujigami. while Korean counterparts are not. Ujigami (氏神 patron god) in Japan has a function of national integration while its counterpart in Korea doesn't have such a trait. Family size in Korea is larger than that of Japan. Moral integration in Korea was established based on traditional village norms (郷約 향약) while not in Japan. public welfare-oriented. Gye (계) in Korea is more mutual-help oriented and more rational than Japanese kô (講). There is no functional equivalence of Japanese danto shûdan (檀徒集団 believer's group of Buddhist attached to some temple) in Korea.

which is a unique concept of Suzuki who was inspired by the discussion of P. and “Chôsen no Sonraku (Villages in Korea.” The former paper tried to compare ten social groups that Suzuki mentioned in his book Genri7. During his roughly two year stay in Korea before his move to Hokkaido. In fact. most outstanding ones are “Chôsen no Nôson Shakai Shûdan ni tsuite (On Social Groups in Korean Rural Society. 1944).D. But we should not forget that Suzuki’s tremendously energetic and original intellectual efforts in Korea were strongly motivated by his project to develop uniquely Japanese social theory and inspired by his strong willingness to compare Japan with other societies in Asia to find the “uniqueness” of Japanese society. Of course most of the conclusions of his paper are tentative. Suzuki replaced class groups which he mentioned in Genri by self-governing groups to illustrate Korean characteristics. Suzuki gave it up to stick to Korean study after his move to Hokkaido when he tried to construct his original urban sociology and sociology of national society to seek for the essence of “the uniqueness of the Japanese society” and stopped his comparative researches of Asian villages. . 1973: 107). As is well known. 1944). 1943)”. and now a lot of doubts and suspicions are there toward the “findings” of Suzuki when a lot of research monographs were already published by native Korean researchers. Suzuki seemed to be satisfied with this paper because he mentioned that “I thought my systematic analysis of Korean villages was almost completed by the publication of this paper” (Suzuki. Suzuki wanted to check the applicability of the concepts developed in Japan to Korean villages and started to conduct field researches to compare Japanese villages and Korean villages. 1958). Tadashi Fukutake and His Chinese Study 7 To be precise. 1943)” and “Chôsen no Gye to Pumasshi (On Korean Gye and Pumasshi. Suzuki put a research question of “What is the equivalent of Japanese natural village (shizen-son)?” at the beginning of the research at Korea and he tried to pay attention to shakaiteki-tôitsusei (social integrity). 1973: 89).” Among his publications on Korean villages. “Chôsen Nôson Shakai Chôsaki (Fieldnotes on Korean Rural Society. Sorokin and E. As is easily guessed. Suzuki conducted fieldwork several times and published papers and articles including “Chôsen Nôson Shakai Bekkenki (A Note on the Glance at Korean Rural Society. Sanderson in the United States.thought Korean villages could offer me good research materials” (Suzuki. whose discussion is summarized in Table 1.

hereafter abbreviated as Kôzô) which discussed unique characteristics of Chinese villages by using his own five-time fieldwork in East China and the second-hand data of Hokushi Kankô Shiryô Chôsa (Data Archive of Researches on Customs and Institutions in Northern China). In fact. Fukutake’s basic concepts. China was the place for his sociological speculation. we can find the following characteristics. When we try to compare Fukutake’s works with those of Suzuki. verifies our discussion by saying that “I still remember that (Fukutake) Sensei sometimes told us that he 8 Tadashi Fukutake 福武直 (1917-89) is a sociologist who taught all his life in the University of Tokyo. These facts suggest that Fukutake was strongly inspired by Suzuki’s early works on rural sociology and that there was an atmosphere in which many Japanese sociologists try to share the basic knowledge and concepts created by themselves. Fukutake started his sociological researches in China just when Suzuki published Genri in 1940. while Fukutake tried to utilize his observations in China to understand Japanese society deeply. In fact. especially those used in the first chapter “Kachû Nôson Shakai no Kôzô (The Structure of Rural Society in East China)”and the composition of chapters in Kôzô are similar to that of Suzuki’s Genri. In other words. Secondly. 1959) and Nihon Shakai no Kôzô (The Structure of Japanese Society. These are the reflection not only of their different knowledge of local languages but of the different accumulation of researches on rural society in Korea and China. Fukutake used a lot of references written by local scholars in China while Suzuki didn’t when he wrote his monographs on Korean rural society. “localization of sociology” was speedy in progress at that time. a rural sociologist and former student of Fukutake at the University of Tokyo. China experienced her “localization of sociology” since 1930s (Sonoda.To Tadashi Fukutake8. which contributed a lot to Fukutake’s researches on Chinese rural society. . As is well known. He became first president of Japan-China Sociological Association until his death in 1989. And thirdly. Fukutake published an article “Chûgoku no Nôson to Nihon no Nôson (Chinese Villages and Japanese Villages)” in 1946 in which he intended to characterize Japanese villages through the comparison with Chinese villages (see Table 2). To put it differently. he was too young to apply his theoretical concepts to Chinese society. 1981). First of all. and he made his vivid debut as sociologist by publishing a book Chûgoku Nôson Shakai no Kôzô (The Structure of Rural Society in China. 1989). Akiyoshi Takahashi. His sociological works include Nihon Sonraku no Shakai Kôzô (Social Structure of Japanese Village. Suzuki tried to “apply” his concepts he created by his researches on Japanese rural society to Korea. 1946.

while equal division of household in (Main/Branch) China. Self-governance in . Principle of Formation Village Village Property Many village properties in Japan. China is weak. while vague in China where villager's identity toward family is strong. There is no property of the clan in Japan (Most of the Property of the Clan property belong to main family. Eldest son's single inheritance is common in Japan. There is a hierarchical order among families in the clan but there is only hierarchical order among generations in China. Household China's family can be easily divided by household. Japan's owner-tenant relation shows Relationship paternalistic characteristics. Self-governance Source: Sonoda (1993:21) Fewer cooperative relations in China. Family Paternal Power Japan's paternal power is stronger. China has many clan properties. while equal distribution among sons is common in China. Village Shrine Farming Clan's god can be a community's god in Japan. Relations Head of honke (本家 main family) will be in charge of the Head of the Clan management of the clan while the oldest among the oldest generation will be in charge of clan management in China. Very small-scale farming in both countries. while clan's god and community's god are totally different in China. Clear in Japan where villagers' identity toward community is Boundary of Villages strong.Table 2 Comparative Analysis of Rural Villages in China and Japan by Tadashi Fukutake Criteria of Comparison Family Composition of China has more collateral families. but Chinese farming is less productive per land. Inheritance Clan Honke-Bunke Unequal in Japan. only a few in China. too. Characteristics Contract base in China where owner-tenant relation is Owner-tenant evidently class relations.

graduated from Department of Sociology at Tokyo Imperial University in 1944. Such a difference can partially attributed to their different position in their local sociological communities. giving it up to study Chinese villages after WWII. they concentrated their academic interest only in Japanese society after the WWII. Chen Shaoxin 陳紹馨 (1906-1966). In other words. To sum up. while Chen didn’t. Historical environments including lack of formal diplomatic relations between China and Japan under Cold-war Regime and the suppression of sociology in Socialist China from 1953 to 1979 also made it difficult for Fukutake to continue his Chinese study. In spite of his strong interest in Chinese villages. graduated from Department of Sociology at Tohoku Imperial University in 1932 and obtained his Ph. 2. for example. Unfortunately. a former professor at the Department of Sociology at Seoul National University and the first generation of Korean Sociology after WWII. observed Japanese rural society from Asian perspective and promoted comparative rural sociology of Asian villages. both Suzuki and Fukutake. Lee had a close contact with his colleagues in Japan and sometimes contributed articles to Japanese sociological journals (Lee.could understand Japanese villages deeply through the comparison with Chinese villages and that he was surprised to see villages in Tohoku district are very different from those in his native villages as well as Chinese villages” (Takahashi. Fukutake (1976: 108) himself regretted it when he reflected his 40-year study of sociology. 1962). both of them had no opportunity to conduct fieldwork out of Japan. at the time of their practice of “localization of sociology” through which they tried to relativize Western concepts and theories. which was also regrettable for the further development of Japanese sociology. and no academic enterprises were conducted to promote comparative sociology of Asian societies by them.D. again one of the founding sociologists in Taiwan and a former professor of Sociology at National Taiwan University. Development of Asian Studies and Widening Discrepancy between “Japan” and “other Asia” Since WWII Some leading sociologists in Asia were educated in Japan before the WWII. Fukutake changed his academic interest to see the democratization of Japanese villages. Lee kept his outstanding position as a leading sociologist in Korea who contributed a lot to the development of Korean sociology and his personal contact with Japanese sociologists 9 . from Kansai University9. Lee Man-gap 이만갑(1926-2010). 1990:15).

Institute of Oriental Culture in the University of Tokyo hadn’t invited sociologists as their faculty member for more than half a century since the retirement of Teizô Toda. and most of the professional sociologists have been educated and obtained Ph. Chinese sociology. Japanese name of Japan Association of Asian Studies is Ajia Seikei Gakkai. however. According to Sun Benwen’s book. degree in graduate schools of sociology in the US. did not pay serious attention to Asia for a long time. on the other hand. Japanese sociology after WWII. again. Korean and Taiwanese sociology. Institute of Developing Economies. on the other hand. and Institute of Oriental Culture in the University of Tokyo became the Mecca of Asian studies and Japan Association for Asian Studies played a vital role in promoting Asian studies in Japan. . which try to capture “a variety of Asia” from ideographic approaches. while Chen’s position in Taiwanese sociology was a bit marginal in spite of his great contribution to the establishment of Department of Sociology at National Taiwan University in collaboration with his colleagues including Long Guanhai (龍冠海) and Yang Maochun (楊懋春). strong interest in cultural history of Taiwan. had been restricted due to her characteristics as “bourgeois science” from 1953 to 1979. 10 Of course those from the US were dominant among Chinese sociologists in 1940s. To take graduates of Department of Sociology at the University of Tokyo as an example. Chen’ marginal position can be attributed his being benshengren (native Taiwanese).D. which emerged and took their unique development path. In spite of that.According to Sun Benwen(孫本文)’s Dangdai Zhongguo Shehuixue (当代中国 社会学 Contemporary Chinese Sociology. received heavy influence from US. These personal connections. the role played by sociologists in Asian studies was marginal and limited. were almost lost after the WWII. among 155 professional sociologists working for academic institutions in mainland China in 1947. which suggests that sociology and anthropology were regarded as minor discipline in the area of Asian studies. University graduates of department of sociology found it very difficult to get a position in Institute of Developing Economies where political economy was rather respected. Center for Southeast Asian Studies in Kyoto University. Asian studies in Japan after WWII. literally Association for Political Economy on Asia. only few of them are regarded as helped his academic activities. excluding the disciplines of sociology and anthropology. eight were educated in Japan10 including Kang Baozhong 康保忠. 1948). however. one of the founders of Chinese sociology. Unfortunately. 73 out of 155 professional sociologists in 1947 had experience to be educated in the United States. and his early death. developed rapidly.

experts of Asian studies including Hirokazu Yamaguchi 山口博一(expert on India). Fourthly.” In order to reduce cost of social research conducting out of Japan. Finally. “modernization” and “social change” in Japan was so rapid and drastic that most of Japanese sociologists’ interests were naturally focused on domestic affairs. and most importantly. It is. One China expert confesses that “I thought researches in rural villages in China had been conducted under the protection by Japanese Imperial Army. which highlights “marginal position” of Asian studies in Japanese sociology after WWII. First of all. especially American. and I shared the sentiment of leftists at that time that studying such imperialist rural researches is meaningless or even criminal” (Kobayashi. but the same phenomena could be witnessed all over Asia. 1990:3). it is necessary to find good research partners from local society. Why such separation between sociology and Asian studies happened? Why Japanese sociologists lost their interest in Asian societies unlike their great seniors like Suzuki and Fukutake? I guess there are following five reasons. Only Komai among them could get a post as sociologist in the Department of Sociology while the rest could find a post as academic researcher in Asian-study-oriented Institutes. most of Japanese sociologist hesitated to study “minor” society for their career as sociologist. local sociologists are apt to focus on their local society as their research target not only because of their “intellectual nationalism” but also their strong commitment to the local society which is experiencing drastic change with a lot of social problems. Mitsuyuki Kagami 加々美光 行 and Masahiro Hishida 菱田雅晴(expert on China). Thirdly. many Japanese sociologists regarded sociological Asian studies before WWII as “by-products” of Japanese militarism and colonialism and they tried to escape from such historical legacy. most of Japanese sociologists at that time . therefore. but it was quite difficult to find such partners because they were more interested in “accepting and digesting” Western. most of whom had sympathy toward socialism and leftist mentality at that time. had critical eyes on Asian studies before WWII. sociological theories just like post-war Japan. it was very difficult for Japanese sociologists to conduct sociological field researches in Asia where anti-Japanese feeling was prevailing and it was difficult to work with local sociologists due to premature of “localization of sociology. quite natural that Japanese sociologists. Ken’ichi Tominaga (1988: 1-5) mentions that most of sociological studies in non-Western societies are apt to be categorized as “area study” which is regarded something different from “ordinal” social science under the intellectual dominance by the West. In many Asian countries. Hiroshi Komai 駒井洋(expert on Thailand). Secondly.

Therefore it was natural for them to pay attention to Japanese as well as Asian villages to see something “special” which cannot be fully explained by Western sociology. more and more urban sociologists are paying attention to multiculturalism. For the generation of Suzuki and Fukutake. all the Asian societies were less developed with a lot of population in rural society. The Rise of Asia and Changing Characteristics of Japanese Sociology Since early 1980s. More and more international students from Asia have come to Japan and study sociology and pick up their mother country as a target of their research. 1995). Japanese sociologists have come to pay more attention to Asia. “convergence” of sociology and Asian studies has been accelerating. however. In other words. A lot of research monographs on Asia have come to be published by Japanese sociologists who are interested in “unchanging Asia” as well as “changing Asia” (see Table 3). Increase of international marriage between Asian and Japanese has necessitated deep understanding of Asian families from sociological perspectives (Ishihara.regarded “Asia” as something different from Japan. especially since the rise of China in late 1990s. 3.” though a lot of sociological monographs were written by those who were recognized as experts of area study rather as sociologists. and in this aspect. most of who are from Asian countries. economic development of Asian countries has come to stimulate academic interests of Japanese sociologists who used to presuppose the contrast “between advanced Japan and non-advanced rest of Asia. sociology showed weaker interest in Asian societies than other discipline like anthropology and political economy in Japan. Therefore. But their junior generations of Japanese sociology shifted their interest from rural villages to urban or national society as Japanese economy developed. Accordingly. Local communities in Japan have come to accept more and more foreign residents. Level of economic development between Japan and the rest of Asia from 1950s to 1970s prevented Japanese sociologists from having interest in other parts of Asia which was still dominated by the principle of rural society. 2005). and younger generations of Japanese sociology are energetically doing researches on . Since 1990s onward. Increase of foreign direct investment from Japan to Asia has become a trigger for Japanese social scientists as well as businessmen to understand local people’s values and behaviors in Asia (Imada and Sonoda. Japanese sociology didn’t have a close connection with Asian studies for more than three decades.

and others China Hong Kong China Name of Publications Socio-economic Structure of Taiwanese Han Villages Study on Urbanization in Southeast Asia Structure and Change of Thai Village Slums in Contemporary Asia Traditional Structure and Its Change of Don Daeng Village Dynamic Analysis of Contemporary Asian Overseas Chinese History and Economy of Chinese Village Studies and Hong Kong and Its Problems Society and Folk Cultuer of Modern China Introduction of large scale competitive research-educational grants called Century COE (abbreviation of Center Of Excellence) Program and Global COE Program since 2002 pushed Japanese sociologists. Emiko Ochiai 落 合 恵 美 子 . Indonesia. Turkey Thailand Thailand. Mamoru 佐々木衛 Source Sonoda (1993:24) Year of Publication 1985 1987 1987 1989 1990 1991 1991 1991 1992 Covering Area Taiwan Thailand.community studies to attain the ideal of multiculturalism. Shogo 小谷野正伍 Kitahara. Hiroaki 可児弘明 Sasaki. Kwansei Gakuin University and Kyoto University. Hiroshi 石田浩 Kani. especially those working for the department of sociology in Tohoku University. are mobilizing their junior sociologists to their comparative studies of Asia. Indonesia Thailand Thailand. Table 3 Sociological Research Monographs on Asia: 1985-1992 Authors Ishida. Hiroshi 石田浩 Koyano. Philippines. Indonesia.” Leaders of COE program on sociology. Philippines. Atsushi 北原淳 Niitsu Ko'ichi 新津晃一 Kuchiwa Masuo 口羽益生 Ichikawa Shin'ai 市川信愛 Ishida. is claiming the necessity to construct a common understanding 21st . to see more “changing Asia. leader of Global Center of Excellence for Reconstruction of the Intimate and Public Sphere in 21st Century Asia at Kyoto University. who are in mid-50s in the prime time of life.

and Asian Social Research Association (established in 2010). see http://www. which is an evidence that Japanese sociology has been changing her characteristics and has more contact and connections with “other Asia. especially Asian. The Asian Association of Social Psychology (established in 1995). East Asian Social Policy Studies Network15 has been acting energetically since her establishment in 2006..gcoe-intimacy. see http://web. 2007.japan-china-sociology. Technology.mac.html 11 . 14 For more information. established “East Asia Research Division” in his research groups from the second round of COE program12. some active sociologists in Japan who are in mid-50s show very strong interest in Asian affairs. including Asia Rural Sociology Association (established in 1992). Their strong interest in Asian societies is the reflection of Japanese sociologists’ interest in “emerging and changing” Asia from sociological perspectives.com/eastasia2006/eastasia/Home.tohoku. East Asian Sociologists Conference (started from 2003). professor of cultural studies in the University of Tokyo. Shogo Takegawa 武川正吾. at. the biggest society of Japanese sociologists. 2004)13. For more information.jp/gcoewiki/en/wiki. and Yoshimichi Sato 佐藤嘉倫. see the following URL.jp/images/library/File/GCOEProposalEnglishFinal20080630. has more foreign-born.throughout Asia11. Asia Pacific Sociological Association (established in 1996). Japan-China Sociological Society (日中社会学会)14 was established in 1982 and now she has more than one hundred members. Sato and Arita.pdf 12 For more information. “Asia” has come to be “significant others” to Japanese sociologists in this new millennium. members (see Figure 1) and she has come to have more presentations on Asian affairs recently (see Figure 2).” In other words. launched a new English program called ITASIA (Information. Some associations focusing on Asian studies were established in Japan since 1980s. Japan University of Social Welfare established Association for Asian Social Welfare Studies (アジア 社会福祉学会) in 1997.sal.org/ 15 For more information.cgi?page=Outline+of+the+CSSI 13 Except Ochiai and Sato. leader of Center for the Study of Social Stratification and Inequality at Tohoku University. Japan Sociological Association. professor of social welfare in the University of Tokyo is energetically conducting comparative research on “Asian social welfare regime” and Shunya Yoshimi 吉見俊哉. http://www.ac. et. see the following URL. https://www. they themselves have come to publish several books and articles on comparative studies of Asia in terms of family formation and social stratification/mobility (Ochiai. Moreover. More and more Japanese sociologists have come to take part in and present papers at other Asia-wide associations or networks. and Society in Asia) Course in Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies when he was a dean of the graduate school.

3. May. Figure 2 Contents of Presentation at Annual Meeting of JSA: 2007-2010 400 300 200 100 0 31 2007 36 2008 38 2009 41 2010 297 307 303 284 Asian-connected Presentation Non Asian-connected Presentation Source) http://www.Figure 1 Ethnic Composition of Members of JSA: 2006 Korean.jp/jss/ Discussion .373 Source) Member List of the Japanese Sociological Association. 23 Chinese (including Taiwanese and Hong Kongner). 49 Others. 46 Japanese.ne.gakkai. 2006.

I would like to emphasize the importance of common platform to educate and cultivate young promising Asian sociologists. comparative sociological analysis of Asian societies is of strategically important. about Asian sociology as granted. First of all. Èmile Durkheim “discovered” integrative function of religion by comparing Catholics and Protestants in Europe. 2005-08). It’s easy to criticize such “cultural lag” as Japanese sociologists’ old-fashioned mindset. if not nothing. If we created “too much localized concept” without any connection to other parts of the globe. Asian sociologists in their 50s and 40s now are heavily influenced by US dominance. will be a foundation for the further development of Asian sociology with its own unique concepts and theoretical frameworks. but I dare say that we’re still need to continue our efforts to change them in a proper way.” . we’ll keep on taking orthodox sociological textbooks which tell little. without claiming to modify them. In order to escape from such a pitfall. Finally. I’m sure that Japanese and other Asian sociologists have still more to do. As long as we use “borrowed” concepts from the Western sociology without modification. and they are apt to look at their local societies through Western glasses16. Asian Barometer Survey (2001-03. Max Weber tired to find out sociological meanings of social life by comparing world religion. including AsiaBarometer (2003-08). In connection with this. East Asia Value Survey (2002-05). The point here is whether we could create such “localized concepts or theoretical frameworks” as a breakthrough of new sociological investigation. The Asia & Pacific Value Survey (2005-08). 16 Collectivism-individualism dichotomy is a typical example of this “Western glasses. our intellectual efforts will be categorized as those of “area study” which has little connection with sociology in general. Asian sociologists should promote to create “platform for sociological investigation” and build-up “sociological commons” to foster sociological imagination. in my eyes. we need to push “localization of sociology” one step ahead to create new concepts or theoretical frameworks through which we could understand our local society better and to fuller extent. Long-lasting and sincere discussion among Asian sociologists based on the common data archive. Japanese sociological textbooks are still introducing Western classical as well as contemporary sociologists and a few Japanese sociologists as necessary and indispensable information for the beginners of sociology as I pointed out in the beginning of this paper. to put it precise. East Asian Social Survey (2003-).In spite of “converging trends” of Asian studies and sociology in recent years. or.

Keiso-shobo. Fukutake Tadashi Chosakushû Bekkan: Shakaigaku 40 Nen (Collected Works of Tadashi Fukutake. Ritsuo. Asia. 1957. is lacking in such educational-scholarly framework through which we could find our “uniqueness” in comparison with our neighboring societies. Tadashi. Erasmus Plan in EU is now fostering EU citizen’s consciousness as people in EU and promoting EU-wide academic activities and exchanges. See Sonoda (2001:28-30) . 2006). Few serious intellectual efforts are made to compare Asian societies in a pioneering way. for example. Keisho-shobo. 2005. Chûgoku Kazoku no Henka to Tekiô Senryaku (Change and Adaptive Strategies of Contemporary Chinese Family). Comparing Malaysia and China.“Comparison between the West and their native country” was and still is very common psychological framework for most of the Asian sociologists. Ishihara.). Yoshio and Kanji Naitô. Fukutake. Kawai. a platform to think unique contribution to sociology by Asian sociologists collectively. Koseisha-koseikaku. References Akimoto. on their perceptions on nepotism will be a challenging task due to their striking difference in terms of the relationship between informants’ academic background and their perceptions on nepotism (Sonoda. 1995. Waseda University Press. Emiko. I strongly believe that we need Asian version of Erasmus Plan for the further development of Japanese sociology which received a tremendous influence of the West. Nihon Shakaigakushi (History of Japanese Sociology). Yamane. Extra Volume: 40-Year History of Sociological Study). Gendai Shakaigaku no Hatten (Development of Modern Japanese Sociology). University of Tokyo Press. 2003. 2007. I sincerely hope that our activity of JSPS Asia-Africa Science Platform Program “Frontier of Comparative Studies of Asian Societies” will be. Imada. Research Report for Scientific Research Grant (14310087). Shakaigaku Gaisetsu (Overview of History of Sociology). Ochiai. Ajia karano Shisen (Japan in the Eyes of Asian). 1976. Mari and Yasuko Miyasaka (eds. Ajia no Kazoku to Jendâ (Family and Gender in Asia). especially East Asia. Takatoshi and Shigeto Sonoda (eds.). Kunio. though its scale and influence is still limited. Atoji. 1979. Takao. University of Tokyo Press.

“Impact of Globalization on Social Mobility in Japan and Korea: Focusing on Middle Classes in Fluid Societies. 1. Ken’ichi. Tôhô-shoten. 1993. “Shakaigaku Riron to Chûgoku oyobi Nihon no Kindaika (Sociological Theories and Modernization of China and Japan)”. Yoshimichi and Shin Arita. Mura. “Kasan Kinbun Sôzoku no Bunka to Chûgoku Nôson Shakai (Culture of Dividing Family Property Equally and Chinese Rural Society” in Lu Yao and Sasaki Mamoru Chûgoku no Ie. University of Tokyo Press. “Son Honbun to ‘Shakaigaku no Chûgokuka’ (Sun Benwen and ‘Sinicization of Sociology’)” Kikan Chugokû Kenkyû (China Study Quarterly) vol. Miraisha. pp. Sato. Shigeto. Kobayashi.” International Journal of Japanese Sociology. pp. Shigeto. 15. Masamichi. No. Iwanami Shoten. Eitarô. Fukutake’s Study on Rural Society” in Nicchû Shakaigakkai Kaihô (Annual Bulletin of Japan-China Sociological Association) No. Institute of China Study. Sonoda. “Kankoku no Shakaigaku (Sociology in Korea)”. Village.13. Sengo Nihon no Shakaigaku (Sociology of Post-war Japan). Vol. Ajia kara Kangaeru (Thinking from Asia) Vol. 2004. “Chûgoku kenkyû kara Hikaku kenkyû-e (From China Study to Comparative Study)” AsiaBarometer Project Series 4. Shigeto. 1989.al (eds. Suzuki. Suzuki Eitarô Chosakushû (Collected Works of Eitarô Suzuki). Hamashita. Shakaigakushi Gaisetsu (Overview of History of Sociology). 1977=2007.). et. Tominaga. Sonoda. Takeshi. pp. Lee. Nozomu. . Ken’ichi. 2004. 4. 1990. Shakaigaku Hyôron (Japanese Sociological Review).93-94. “Fîrudo to shiteno Ajia (Asia as a Field)”. Sonoda. 13. 1988. University of Tokyo Press. “Fukutake Sensei no Nôson Kenkyû niokeru Nihon to Chûgoku (Japan and China in Prof.15. Kikan Chûgoku Kenkyû (China Study Quarterly). 36-52.123-171. Ningen-no-kagakusha. Shigeto. Vol.Kawamura. NHK Publishers. No. 1990. 2001. Tominaga. 2006. and Gods in China). Akiyoshi. 1973-5.14-18. Shinmei. Kazumi. Takahashi. pp. Sonoda. Kamigami (Family. 1962. 1973. Nihon Shakaigakushi no Kenkyû (Study of History of Japanese Sociology). Man-gap.2. Chûgokujin no Shinri to Kôdô (Psychology and Behavior of Chinese People).